A few words about…™ The New Centurions & The Seven-Ups — in Blu-ray

Both are worth viewing, while neither is a great film. 4 Stars

Twilight Time has released two police dramas, The New Centurions, directed by Richard Fleischer (1972), and The Seven-Ups, by first-time director Philip D’Antoni (1973).

Centurions was based upon the novel by Joseph Wambaugh.

They make an interesting pair.

Both are worth viewing, while neither is a great film.

New Centurions for its cast, inclusive of George C. Scott and Stacy Keach, and The Seven-Ups as the wannabe sequel to The French Connection, for which D’Antoni had served as producer.

One of the stand-out sequences in Seven-Ups is a massive car chase — remember, there was one under the elevated tracks in French Connection? — that begins on Manhattan’s East side, heads west, over the GW Bridge, then north, ending somewhere in mid-Westchester in the Briarcliff Manor area.

As to quality, The New Centurions is the better looking film, presumably processed at Technicolor, Hollywood, while Seven-Ups, a New York based production, was processed at TVC, which became known for their Chemtone process.

I’m presuming that’s what I’m seeing, as contrast is down, shadow detail is more open, and blacks in some shots are non-existent.

Not a problem, as that’s the way the production was filmed and processed.

Both are beautiful image harvests from Fox (Seven-Ups) and Columbia (Centurions).

Image – 5

Audio – 5 (monaural)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

12 Comments

  1. I watched The New Centurions this afternoon. As with so many 1970s crime dramas, very downbeat tone with some exhilarating sequences. Beautiful Sony transfer. I'll read Julie's essay this evening at bedtime.

  2. Robert Crawford

    Yep, those two will be cue up this week as I’ve been in a crime/film noir viewing frenzy over the last couple of weeks.

    Well, I lied as I never cued those two titles up that week nor since then. I've fallen so far behind on my disc viewing it's really a sad state of affairs. I need to sit down and watch both of these TT releases real soon. I've seen both films numerous times, so perhaps that's the mental hurdle I need to overcome in watching my Blu-rays. I watched the German BD of "Seven-Ups" about six months before I got the TT Blu-ray so that explains it somewhat, but I have no excuse for "The New Centurians" since I hadn't watched the 2008 DVD in over ten years.

  3. I enjoy The Seven-Ups quite a bit. Not some amazing movie, sure, but Schneider adds a lot of gravitas and it moves along at a nice pace. For 70's crime/neo-noir fans like myself it's very worth getting, especially at TT's sale prices.

    New Centurions I actually got from Indicator in the UK, mostly for George C. Scott. He's great in it as usual, but I find the movie itself merely average, and the very 70's ending doesn't quite work as well as it should.

  4. The car chase in SEVEN-UPS is not worth the price of admission. It's longer than that in either BULLITT or FRENCH CONNECTION, but it hasn't the kinetic rhythms that master editors Frank Keller and Jerry Greenberg, respectively, gave to those. It's sluggish and repetitive and and photographed from unimaginative angles. The rest of the film isn't even as good as that. Just my take on it, of course. I much prefer THE NEW CENTURIONS as a cop film between the two in the OP.

  5. Just joined this forum – this is my first post. I'm a huge movie fan, especially of '70's films. And, I did re-watch The Seven-Ups recently for the first time in years. Excellent movie, with very understated (at times) performances by the cast. Early '70's NYC in the wintertime may as well be another character in the film.

    This movie also features THE best & most intense car chase I've ever seen in '60's or '70's cinema – I find this superior to what was seen in The French Connection & even the iconic Steve McQueen flick Bullit – but I know this is an unpopular opinion.

  6. Welcome to the Forum!

    One thing that makes the car chase in THE SEVEN UPS distinctive for me, as a long time Manhattan resident–I've been living here since Sept 68–unlike almost every other car chase, which compresses space or cheats (such as having then go south on north bound streets) the chase in THE SEVEN UPS is totally consistent in terms of where they are going, which way in terms of east or west bound streets and how they get there. Plus the cars drive down a nearby street (78th) & then go down Columbus Avenue past hardware stores and bodegas and the long gone Museum cafe which is such a time capsule of what the neighborhood looked like around the time I first moved in.

  7. The Drifter

    Just joined this forum – this is my first post. I'm a huge movie fan, especially of '70's films. And, I did re-watch The Seven-Ups recently for the first time in years. Excellent movie, with very understated (at times) performances by the cast. Early '70's NYC in the wintertime may as well be another character in the film.

    This movie also features THE best & most intense car chase I've ever seen in '60's or '70's cinema – I find this superior to what was seen in The French Connection & even the iconic Steve McQueen flick Bullit – hands down.

    Welcome to the forum as diverse opinions are welcome.

  8. Yes, I found the car chase in The Seven-Ups very intense – it was also long, which added to the realism.

    I was born in the early '70's, but consider myself more of an '80's kid. However, I wasn't a film fan during that era (too young). I didn't get into most '70's movie until the 200X's, when I first got into DVD's. So, I didn't see most '70's movies when they were first released.

    However, the '70's is my favorite decade for film. When looking back at films from this era, I find them to be extremely well-done, atmospheric, dark, moody, and in some cases very realistic. Many of the films (especially the crime dramas) from this area were almost like documentaries. In any case, I can't imagine movies from this era being made today – no way.

    In addition to The Seven-Ups, here are some other examples of incredible films from the '70's: Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, Burnt Offerings, The Sentinel, Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Five Easy Pieces, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Straight Time, Scarecrow, Lenny, Hardcore, The Yakuza, The Exorcist, The Omen, The King of Marvin Gardens, Straw Dogs, Friends of Eddie Coyle, Fingers, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Sorcerer, The French Connection I & II, The Mechanic (my favorite Bronson flick), The Conversation, American Graffiti, THX-1138, Star Wars: A New Hope, The Godfather I & II, Vanishing Point, etc.

    I could go on, but you get the picture.

  9. The Drifter

    Yes, I found the car chase in The Seven-Ups very intense & realistic, and I'm not sure why anyone would think it wasn't as good as the ones in Bullit or The French Connection, but to each their own.

    I was born in the early '70's, but consider myself more of an '80's kid. However, I wasn't a film fan during that era (too young). I didn't get into most '70's movie until the 200X's, when I first got into DVD's. So, I didn't see most '70's movies when they were first released.

    However, my love for '70's film doesn't have anything to do with the decade I grew up in – it's more that, when looking back at films from that era, I find them to be extremely well-done, atmospheric, dark, moody, and in some cases very realistic. Many of the films (especially the crime dramas) from this area were almost like documentaries. In any case, I can't imagine movies from this era being made today – no way.

    In addition to The Seven-Ups, here are some other examples of incredible films from the '70's: Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, Burnt Offerings, The Sentinel, Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Five Easy Pieces, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Straight Time, Scarecrow, Lenny, Hardcore, The Yakuza, The Exorcist, The Omen, The King of Marvin Gardens, Straw Dogs, Friends of Bobby Coyle, Fingers, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Sorcerer, The French Connection I & II, The Mechanic (my favorite Bronson flick), The Conversation, American Graffiti, THX-1138, Star Wars: A New Hope, The Godfather I & II, Vanishing Point, etc.

    I could go on, but you get the picture.

    Welcome to the forum!
    The prequel to Friends of Bobby Coyle 😉 – The Friends of Eddie Coyle is available on blu-ray as are nearly all the other ones you mention

    I would say that Baby Driver comes close to the feeling of those 70s chase films … IMHO

  10. Thanks – I made that correction. Yes, I've seen many of these great movies on Blu-ray. I didn't want to bump all of the individual threads, so just wanted to mention these all at once as great examples of '70's-era films.

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